En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 16, 2007

From: evanston, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Growing native grasses in containeers in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi. How well would native grasses grow in container gardens in Illinois? What soil would you suggest? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Native grasses should work just fine in a container garden. One note of caution; plants in containers are far more susceptible to freeze damage than those in the ground. If you plan to overwinter your grasses in containers they will likely need some protection during hard freezes.

Two parts good garden soil mixed with one part commercial potting media makes a good container mix. Garden soil alone is usually too heavy and drains too slowly to make a good container soil. On the other hand, peat moss and perlite mixes alone tend to dry out too quickly as they don't hold water well enough. A balanced mix will usually work well for two to three years before needing to be replaced.

Here are some attractive grasses native to Illinois:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn)

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Paspalum floridanum (Florida paspalum)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Weeds in Buffalograss from Edmond OK
September 20, 2012 - We have a patch of buffalograss surrounded by patio/flower garden/vegetable garden. We like B-grass, but are getting a lot of weeds despite preemergents, and some bermuda had appeared. Are there h...
view the full question and answer

Finding Connecticut grasses on website from NY City
January 28, 2012 - Your site w/ all its varied aids are great, and your answers are so helpful, so I don't want to seem critical with this question. I trained as a landscape architect in the Northeast 20 years ago a...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Options for Saginaw, MI
April 09, 2015 - I'm looking for a low maintenance, high traffic lawn alternative. Will Texas Frogfruit handle the winter? My yard is small so covering it is an option.
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf work in Houston?
January 20, 2012 - I am looking to plant the parking strip between the sidewalk and street - about 6-7 feet wide. Would Habiturf work in Houston. The webside lists areas of Texas, but wasn't sure if Houston was incl...
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance grass for retention pond
December 21, 2012 - I would like to know what would be a low-growing grass to put down for a water retention pond. We have clay and rocky soil. The incline of the sides of the retention pond are about 20 feet with gra...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center